Jane to lead Banyana from middle of the park
Captain experienced enough to ensure SA conquer Cosafa
Fresh from captaining Team SA at the World Students Games in Taipei, it was inevitable that Banyana would turn to midfielder Refiloe Jane to lead them in the Cosafa Women’s Cup.
The university games in Taipei were the third major event Jane had competed in in the last 12 months, and her vast experience will be key in coach Desiree Ellis’s bid to conquer the regional competition that kicked off in Zimbabwe yesterday.
SA open their Cosafa campaign against Lesotho at Luveve Stadium today (2pm). This will be a maiden clash with the neighbours from the Mountain Kingdom.
“We are favourites but it doesn’t mean we must underestimate our opponents,” said Jane, 25, who took over the armband in the absence of regular skipper, the US-based defender Janine van Wyk.
Jane, however, believes the abundance in seasoned campaigners in the team is enough to wade off any threats by Lesotho this afternoon.
“Coming from international tournaments means one comes back with a load of experience. It is important for us to utilise this to win the first game,” said Jane, adding that “it’s a massive responsibility but an honour for me to be appointed the captain”.
Though this marks her debut to Cosafa, Jane was part of the Banyana sides that campaigned at Olympics and African Women’s Championships late last year. The Tshwane University of Technology student with 74 caps will share the responsibilities in midfield with Leandra Smeda (69 caps). Interim coach Ellis is expecting as much from her stand-in skipper.
“This is nothing new to her, she’s been a leader on the field already when Janine was here,” noted Ellis. Banyana, who have been in camp for a week, never really got to play a high-level friendly prior to the tournament except for a game against School of Excellence. Ellis said if South Africa were to displace the likes of Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon at the top, “Cosafa is where you start”.
“We always drum it: ‘do not underestimate your opponents’,” said Ellis, who has called up six new players for the 12-day tournament. South Africa will have little time to rest as they face Namibia tomorrow. Banyana fixtures: Today: v Lesotho, 2pm Tomorrow: v Namibia, 2pm Sunday: v Botswana, 2pm Mothowagae is in Zimbabwe, courtesy of Sasol
Refiloe Jane will lead SA in the Cosafa Women’s Cup in Zimbabwe in the absence of captain Janine van Wyk.